Capacity building for advocacy

1. The promotion and implementation of Human Rights has represented a permanent, hard and unequal effort amongst those countries that accepted them, from the Declaration in 1947 until today. Similarly unequal is the adherence of Member States to their obligations to ensure economic, social and cultural rights, which include the right to education for everyone, as agreed upon in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

2. The establishment of an international governance not only capable ofcoordinating actions of the various nations, but  importantly of monitoring the compliance with the agreements and responsibilities of each one constitutes a recent challenge, difficult to implement;

3. The double responsibility for promoting rights on the one hand, and implementing and monitoring them, on the other, cannot and should not be left solely in the hands of the governments of each country or those mandated by them to take a position in international organizations. History has shown that without the strong presence of civil society in permanent action of pressure and advocacy, rights are not conquered, nor fully realized.

4. The participation of civil society in the defense of rights has taken place through various mechanisms: a) through actions regarding information, training, constituency building and propaganda in the field of Human Rights, b) through direct actions, for instance, protests and demonstrations that occupy public spaces, streets and squares, in the proclamation of rights for the majority; c) in indirect actions, by mechanisms involving operations inside the national and international system, through lobbying and advocacy and critical engagements with governments to push for people-oriented policies and programs.

5. It is not unusual that the coordinated action of these three action strategies of civil society is more efficient..

6. Born in 1973, one of ICAE's mission is “to advocate for youth and adult learning and education (ALE) as a universal human right”. As a network of networks, organizations and individuals, it stimulates action that takes place both in the local and regional plans, as well as internationally.

7. Advocating for defending rights of young people and adults so that they receive inclusive and quality education, which is publicly funded and free of charge, involves not only educational commitments (education as a human right) but also political and ethical commitments.

8. In a world marked by neoliberal policies that remove social and labor rights, that deepen inequalities among populations (Balance the Game!) and aggravate the environmental crisis on the planet (2014 Warmest year on record; IPCC Climate Change Report 2014), choosing to advocate for the educational rights of the poorest and most marginalized is an ethical commitment for ICAE.

This advocacy needs to strategize on civil society/people’s vigilance to secure education amidst pressing issues such as the digital divide, identity issues and globalism, restrictions to migration, changing job skills, privatization of social services and depleting environment resources which can polarize the world and further exacerbate inequity and injustice.

9. At the same time, working to empower people outside decision-making spaces is a political commitment ICAE has undertaken, so that everyone can have the abilityto make decisions regarding their destiny in the best possible way. Education is one of the most important elements for empowering people.

10. In order to increase the quality and the impact of its advocacy, ICAE has worked basically with 3 strategies (ICAE and Post 2015: Good practices for advocacy). Challenging the dominant rhetoric at the global level, it has strongly articulated the civil society agenda on education founded on the collective perspectives of grassroots communities, political and social movements as well as education practitioners working with marginalized communities.

a. ICAE’s Academy of Lifelong Learning and Advocacy (IALLA) is ICAE’s main capacity-building program. This international training aims at helping young leaders acquire skills and motivation to advocate and network for adult learning and education (ALE) within a human rights framework;

b. For the last 7 years and on a regular basis, ICAE has run virtual seminars on adult education and development and Education as a Human Right. Our experience shows this is a very applicable tool to enhance the discussion and to include very different perspectives from all over the world and from all kinds of institutions at a very low cost. It is also an effective capacity building tool to bridge gaps, to disseminate best practices and to connect the global with the regional and local spheres.

c. Networking and alliance-building is one of the key elements of ICAE’s work. It is essential in order to succeed in mobilizing our constituencies, partners and key actors all around the globe to join our actions, spread our key messages and assert together the right to education and lifelong learning.

11. ICAE members like ASPBAE and EAEA join in this Capacity Building effort to increase advocacy work

ASPBAE's capacity building for advocacy with members covers the areas of policy analysis and research, monitoring, lobbying, alliance and constituency-building, and promoting public education and awareness. It provides in-country support to national education coalitions’ advocacy, facilitates cross-country exchanges, facilitate participation of members in regional advocacy platforms and initiate regional conferences and workshops to deliberate on and build consensus on key education issues that impact on the right to education.

To sustain evidence-based advocacy and keep members informed on significant advocacy events, trends and interventions in national and regional platforms, ASPBAE invests in knowledge building --- it produces toolkits, policy briefs, education scorecards and publications. At the same time, it links up members to strategic partners with education resources such as UNESCO, universities and institutes.

ASPBAE’s Training for Transformation is geared towards improving civil society practice and advocacy on youth and adult education. In particular, NEXT 2 focuses on regional capacity building for education practitioners and advocates to enable them to effectively implement research-policy advocacy- campaigns-engagements towards securing youth and adult education for all. The Basic Leadership and Development Course integrates the right to education advocacy as a key learning strand in its curriculum.

EAEA has organized an annual training for younger staff for the past  five years. The intention is to introduce the European adult education policies to the participants and to give them the opportunity to exchange experiences with each other. The alumni of these trainings have formed a loose network that continues to cooperate. Out of this network we have launched a new project – an online peer-learning network for adult education staff. The first course will start in April 2015.

Additionally, other project results such as ‘Awareness raising for adult learning and education (ARALE)’ and ‘Outreach Empowerment Diversity (OED)’ serve to support our members work in advocacy and outreach.

12. In order to discuss the topic of Capacity Building for advocacy, participants of the Word Assembly are encouraged to register activities on the subject. Here are some thematic suggestions:

a. Importance of making capacity building for advocacy. Do we, as civil society organizations, need to keep this objective ?

b. What skills are necessary to develop in the training of new leaders for advocacy in the current context?

c. Sharing experiences and learning emerged in the practice of advocacy at the local and global level

d. Emerging themes for advocacy for youth and adult education in the future (e.g. what do we think of the proposition to prepare learners for job skills that are not yet present? Or futures literacy? Or the increasing neglect of community-based adult education and the current interest in higher education? Or the increasing privatization of education? Or the translating the rhetorics of ESD and Global Citizenship Education into meaningful programs for marginalized youth and adults?

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